Becoming a Professional Architect in Malaysia and the Best Architecture Courses, Career & Salary


Information about becoming a Professional Architect in Malaysia, the Courses, Career and Salary

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The Average passing rate is 9%~20% for the Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM) Part 3 which means that the path to become a professional architect in Malaysia is not an easy one. First, students after SPM or O-Levels will go for the architecture foundation course before continuing on to complete the degree. Students interested to pursue education in architecture should go for top private universities that are accredited by Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia. When you have completed the Masters and eventually the LAM Part 3, your career as an architect is set and the salary can be very high.

Students interested in architecture must not be colour-blind, should be good academically in maths, physics, science and design. One needs a wide variety of skills & interests to be successful in architecture such as design, creativity, history, philosophy, maths, physics, buildings, etc. Read on to find out more about architecture courses, career and salary in Malaysia.

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Studying Architecture Degree Course in Malaysia

Architecture is a mixture of practical and theoretical studies. It is important to understand the philosophy, history and culture in order to create stunning buildings. Architecture students will learn how to use design software to create models, drawings, prototypes and structures. You will learn how to use creative and rational inquiry to analyse and provide solutions to design problems, integrating emerging aesthetic, technical, social and ethical concerns.

Architecture students in Malaysia will apply advanced digital design tools to solve design problems and address sustainability issues. Students will spend long hours in research and project-based architectural design subjects to create aesthetically beautiful design pieces that are sustainable and environmentally friendly.

A degree in Architecture will give you the opportunity to practice your craft. The degree will teach you how to plan buildings so that they line up with pre-existing structures and provide effective services. Furthermore, it’ll equip you to consider the environmental impact of what you design and create sustainable buildings.

A sustainable building, is an outcome of a design philosophy which focuses on increasing the efficiency of resource use — energy, water, and materials — while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment during the building’s lifecycle, through better siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal.

Additionally, in the process of becoming a professional architect, you’ll be based with a real-life architect and learning from them directly. That kind of vocational tuition is rare, and Architecture students get the privilege to learn and experience from top professionals.

What will your work as an Architecture Degree Graduate be in Malaysia?

Architecture Graduates in Malaysia will be able to gain professional working experience in an Architectural Firm, Interior Architectural Firm, Developer Firm, Construction Firm, Supplier & Manufacturer Firm and Educational Institution.

Scope of work varies from an Assistant Architect, a Project Manager, an Interior Designer, Design Consultant, Project Executive, Design Research Assistant Free lance Designer, to an Academic Tutor.

Architecture Graduates in Malaysia may also venture into other fields of expertise such as:

  • Furniture Design
  • Lighting Design,
  • Theme Park Design
  • Retail Design
  • Commercial Design
  • Hospitality Design
  • Healthcare Design
  • Corporate Office Design
  • Stage Design
  • Exhibit Design
  • Film & Television Set Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Museum Design
  • Residential Design and Graphic Design.

The career opportunities in this field have a good record of graduate employment. Opportunities also exist in the other areas, including marketing, promotion, facility management and development.

Many large organisations in Malaysia, such as departmental stores hotels, resorts and property developers, also employ architects and architectural graduates as designers as well as managers and supervisors. Following experience with larger firms, graduates may start their own consulting business.

What is the Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM) and Becoming a Professional Architect in Malaysia

The architecture profession in Malaysia is protected by law. The regulating and governing body of the architecture profession in Malaysia is known as Lembaga Akitek Negara (LAM). They govern the entire profession starting from the definition of an architect under the Malaysian Constitution, licensing, practice, acts and enactments as well as education.

The other body that concerns the well being of architects themselves is Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia. It functions as an association that takes care of its members, organize functions and manages the professional development of an architect from the lowest to highest qualification. Just like Bar exams for lawyers, architects also require certain level of qualification that is a standard worldwide.

The qualifications are known as LAM Part 1, 2 and 3. The equivalent of this is RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects), AIA (American Institute of Architects) and RAIA (Royal Australian Institute of Architects).

Students after SPM or O-Levels will go for the Foundation program for one year first. After that, they will go on to an Architecture degree that’s accredited by Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM) Part 1. Upon completion of the degree, graduates will then go on to a Masters in Architecture that’s accredited Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM) Part 2.

After graduating with Part 2, a person is known as an architect, and will be able to practice according to the job specification of an architect. This should be the minimum target of anyone pursuing this profession. Anything less is a waste of time.

These qualifications can be obtained in two ways:

  • Obtaining a fully accredited degree (or equivalent) that carries Part 1 or 2 equivalent.
  • Sitting for individual exams after obtaining a non-accredited degree for Part or 2.

Graduates who obtained the qualifications in architecture from accredited universities are eligible to register as Graduate Architect with the Board of Architects Malaysia.

Part 3 can only be obtained after practicing as an architect for a minimum of 2 years and fulfilling all the project requirements set by LAM.

Fulfilling these needs, the architect will then submit themselves to a series of interviews and exams to determine that they are capable and absolutely qualified. These exams are conducted by Persatuan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM).

Requirements for Registration

The applicant shall be a person who :

  • is a registered Graduate Architect;
  • has obtained the practical experience as prescribed by the Board; and
  • has passed the Part III Professional Examination

Average Salary for Architects in Malaysia

The average salary for architects in Malaysia is taken from

  • Fresh/Entry Level: RM 1.600 – RM 2,500
  • Junior Executive: RM 2,200 – RM 3,400
  • Senior Executive: RM 3,600 – RM 7,000
  • Manager: RM 6,500 – RM 10,000
  • Senior Manager: RM 7,500 – RM 13,500

Number of Registered Professional Architects in Malaysia

Architecture students at Taylor's University
Architecture students at Taylor’s University

At the 2014 Persatuan Arkitek Malaysia -Tan Sri Ar Chan Sau Lai Architecture Award prize-giving ceremony today, Kuala Lumpur Mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib said that the current ratio of architects in Malaysia is one to 17,257 people.

There is a shortage of architects in Malaysia due to the low passing rate in the final test which would enable them to become professional architects, which carries the title of Ar. There are only 1800 Registered Architects in Malaysia. The Average pass rate is 9%~20%

Total Registered at Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM) as at Feb 2017 :-

  • Architects: 1861
  • Graduate Architects: 1351
  • Interior Designers: 519
  • Building Draughtmen: 152
  • APEC Architect: 29
  • ASEAN Architect: 38
  • Architectural Body Corporate: 245
  • Architectural Partnership: 83
  • Architectural Sole Proprietorship: 1063
  • Multi Disciplinary Practices: 40
  • Interior Design Body Corporate: 20
  • Interior Design Partnership: 1
  • Interior Design Sole Proprietorship: 24

Best Architecture Degree Programmes at Premier Private Universities in Malaysia with Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM) Accreditation

Students after SPM or O-Levels interested to major in architecture can either go for the Diploma or the Foundation program in architecture in Malaysia.

Students can choose the Foundation in Natural & Built Environments at Taylor’s University. Upon successful completion of the 1-year Foundation, you will then enter into the undergraduate degree in architecture for another 3 years.

Students can consider the architecture degree course at  Taylor’s University . Their degree programme is accredited by Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM) equivalent to LAM Part 1.

Students who have obtained the relevant results in STPM, UEC, A-Levels, CPU, SAM and other Pre-U Programmes can enter the architecture degree for 3 years.

After completing the Bachelors in Architecture at a top private university in Malaysia, the next step is to go into an accredited Masters in Architecture degree equivalent to LAM Part 2 for another 2 years. Architecture Masters Degree Graduates in Malaysia will then work for 2 years and then sit for the LAM Part 3 exams and then to finally become an architect.

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